Welcome to the Edge of Chaos 2.0Publications
This book came about after we spent two years in the 1990s immersed in complex adaptive systems theory in the hope that Mother Nature’s rules for evolution could teach us something useful about how to help organizations take advantage of turbulence to evolve and move themselves to the next level of innovation and impact. We were not disappointed. The insights of complexity theory turned out to be an excellent guide to the transformative re-design of organizations, communities, and other human institutions. They fundamentally changed how we thought about our work as agents of organizational and community change.
Complexity theory teaches us that systems of all types only grow and evolve when they migrate to the “edge of chaos”—tearing apart old structures, but retaining enough coherence to take advantage of the disequilibrium and use it to innovate, to reinvent, to renew at higher levels of complexity and depth. Not all systems make this leap. Some stay mired in stagnation; others descend into chaos.
The turbulence we are experiencing now presents us with opportunities, if only we know how to take advantage of them. Welcome to the Edge examines an important way of approaching this challenge.
“The Edge should be welcomed, indeed embraced as a time that can and will unleash extraordinary creativity and innovation in the ways we live and work.”
–Spencer Beebe, Chairman of the Board, Ecotrust